Category Archives: alt-country

The Longer I Run Then The Less That I Find

Pandora is sabotaging my all-nighter with sad songs.

And not just bittersweet sad or like melancholy sad. We’re talking epically sad. And why are so many of them about leaving and/or home?

That’s a folky/alt-country theme, for sure. But damn. It’s almost EVERY song tonight.

I switched from my Whiskey Farm station to The Lumineers. Bad decision. Things turned tragic for no foreseeable reason.

Highlights:

There was this… which is probably on my “top 20 saddest songs of all time” list.

I’m coming up only to hold you under
I’m coming up only to show you wrong

Then, this… which is on my “top 10 songs that make me sad in 2012” list.

Well, this road I’m on’s gonna turn to sand
And leave me lost in a far off land
So let me ride the wind ’til I don’t look back
Forget the life that I almost had

Ugh. I’m switching to Gold. At least I know what to expect.

Is It 2013 Yet?

The fact that this is a constant thought in my head is kind of disgusting to me. That’s a whole year. I’m ready to just be done with a whole damn year? That’s a waste of precious life time. I value life time, down to the second.

And I’m becoming increasingly frustrated that my life is passing me by while I’m in nursing school. Another absolutely beautiful day wasted inside studying and working on assignments.

After the first month, I couldn’t believe that a month had already gone by. After the second month, I felt like the next 9.5 months would be rough but manageable. Now that we’re nearing the end of the 3rd month, it feels like there are 200 months left. On Memorial Day, when I’m taking a final, I’m going to be the most bitter girl in the state of Alabama. On the 4th of July, when I’m sitting in class all day, I’m going to be the most bitter girl in the entire world. 100mg of motivation IM, please?

Here is today’s Sunday morning song: Something Salty, Something Sweet

Here is today’s Sunday afternoon song:  Bullet to Binary

Notice the progression from happiness to angst. I’ve been doing work for 8 hours. I still have another 6+ hours of work to do. Sigh.

Whatever. At least I know that if I can survive this on my own, I can survive anything on my own. I’m fierce. Like a little Spartan warrior of learning or something.

However, to further complicate my stress problem, I’m pretty sure there’s a hoard of rodents living in the walls of my building. And they must have just reproduced because all I hear are loud rodent screeches day and night. One of them is so big that it sounds like there’s a small dog scratching up and down the wall. This makes me want to cry. And get a cat. As far as I know, there’s no hole big enough for them to actually get into my apartment. Or else they would have already by now, right? It’s still outrageously unsettling and I can never relax. I thought I’d be used to them by now. Nope.

Next time I have an ounce of spare time, I’m going to peppermint oil the shit out of my baseboards.

Until then, I’m going to periodically close my eyes, visualize the beach, and sing River City Extension songs.

Way-ah way-ah way-ah way-ah

Messages

I love mom e-mails. They kind of always sound a little ridiculous. I don’t know what it is. I’ve been trying analyze this for years. Just their choice of words and/or tone is weird maybe. They always sound different from e-mails you get from anyone else. Case in point, the last one my mom sent to me:

Oh my dear!  I am so happy that your wishes are coming true as you head to Alabama. We will miss you greatly but know that this is what you want to do and we are behind you all the way! The next 2 months will be filled with excitement and anticipation! Hope your weekend was fun and that THING 1 and 2 were a hit!

Mom, why do you do stuff like randomly capitalize the word “thing?”

I also love this song: Messages by Xavier Rudd

Oh, the lyrics. They really make me cry life tears 50% of the time I listen to the album. It’s a good Sunday night album.

So, hold nice and close
Once you get to your soul
So that when it is cold
You won’t feel so alone
‘Cause the roads that you take
May just crack and break
With the changes you will confront

With each gift that you share
You may heal and repair
With each choice you make
You may help someone’s day
Well, I know you are strong
May your journey be long
And now I wish you the best of luck
Well, I know you are strong
May your journey be long
And now I wish you the best of luck

Also, please care about the environment. Thanks.

I’m so teary lately anyway. The outrageousness of Halloweekend has made me realize how much I’m going to miss everyone for real. Like there have been a few times when I’ve just looked around at my friends doing what we always do and I just feel sadness and the ache of missing them already. The journey of life is bittersweet.

What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.
– Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Even though I love everyone to death, Halloweekend has been outrageously crazy and I’m kind of ready to get off this ride. Excerpt from one of my drunk tweets:

Oh Lord. Halloweekend. We are all going to die.

At Mike’s party on Friday night, we crossed the event horizon of insanity/debauchery never to return apparently. I thought I was too hungover to drink last night. I was wrong. Yes, I was still mad hungover and didn’t really want to drink but it happened. I thought we had all pulled ourselves together by the time we met up again at my house last night. Not true. Two parties with a bar adventure in between and we were all back to Friday night where the craziest shit was going down. At least Desi and I are naturally synched up so that only one of us is obliterated at a time and we take care of each other. Thank God, because if it weren’t this way, we’d be completely non-functioning wastes of life.

There’s been drama, there’s been fun, there’s been the surrealness of being sandwiched between Boba Fett and a dude dressed like a sexy woman while you back that ass up as the stereo blasts some Juvenile.

I mean, we went hard. It’s not even over yet. There’s still a small gathering happening at the Cage tomorrow night. Honestly, I can never get enough Halloween though. It’s truly one of the best holidays.

Apparently, Matt referred to me as “the whore in the other room” on Friday night however. That was nice of him. Glad to see he’s healthily/maturely moving on three months later. I know it shouldn’t have broken my heart that that’s how he thinks of me because I’m more or less over it in every way but it still sucks to know that there’s so much hate directed toward me from someone I used to love and who used to supposedly love me. I also know it’s not true at all. I was only ever the most monogamous/faithful/loyal/dedicated/loving/non-slutty girlfriend a person can have. It still stung really bad to know that he called me that and I guess I’ll never know why.

I think that guys will never really understand the level of disaster the situation with Matt was and I can never really fully throw out a disclaimer about why I’m so hostile towards them. I don’t believe in nice guys because my ex is the type of person to call you a whore three months after you broke up when it was entirely his fault and semi-unfaithfulness that caused you to end it.

I guess that’s essentially it. It’s hard to believe that a nice/decent/good guy is actually that when the guy you thought was that nice/decent/good guy in reality is a shady bastard who calls you a whore and that interferes with my assessment of all men.

I’m definitely ready to get out of here. Heartwrenching or not, it’s time to move on.

I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I’m going to be living on Mobile Bay and basically the Gulf of Mexico. My connection with bodies of water is one of the most solid/consistent things in my life. My whole body is itching to go. The Gulf of Mexico and I have some kind of magnetism now. Water is also helping me feel less upset about leaving and the inevitable disconnection that comes with long-distance friendships. But when I think about the fact that ultimately New Orleans is my goal and that we’ll all be connected someday by Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, I feel more at ease about it. I like the idea of being able to look at the Mississippi River water and knowing that some of that came from Pittsburgh. And even farther up, some of it came from Potter county where my mom works so I’m connected to everyone that’s important.

I’m actually crazy. This is proof. A sane person would feel connected to people in 2011 because we have cell phones and the internet. A crazy person gets all 1894 about it. Pittsburgh is only a steamboat trip away!

This blurb from Wiki is cool:

The use of steamboats on major US rivers soon followed Fulton’s success. In 1811 the first in a continuous (still in commercial passenger operation as of 2007) line of river steamboats left the dock at Pittsburgh to steam down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and on to New Orleans.

I was obsessed with steamboat history for awhile. You can blame alt-country for that, I’m sure. But yeah, got books out of the library about it and everything. I was a steamboat expert for two weeks.

I also love houseboats. And speed boats. And tug boats. And fishing boats. And life boats. And pontoon boats. And kayaks. And canoes. And gondolas. And all other boats. Those are just the first ones that come to mind.

But sailboats most of all. Intense love for sailboats. My ancestors must have been pirates or vikings or fish or something. I’m most at peace on/in the water. It’s the most universal thing ever when you think about it. First of all, the earth is 70% water. Secondly, the water comes from everywhere and goes everywhere via the evaporation and rain cycle. And the molecules get all broken up then put back together. The atoms just move all over. I also like that hydrogen bonds are super weak unless there are a lot of hydrogen bonds going on from a lot of molecules being together. That’s so universal. One person alone is nothing. But a million people together is unbreakable. We need each other. Together, we have a high specific heat.

Putting the physics/chemistry aside (why am I such a nerd and only think in terms of science?), the water is also carried all over via gravity and waves and currents. It’s humbling to think about the power and magnitude of it but also comforting because of the connection to all things that it makes me feel.

I definitely cry my face off at the end of Big Fish every time. And kind of all the way through. The “I was drying out” line in the bathtub scene makes my heart explode. It’s not even really 100% sadness tears because of the death thing. Mostly life tears actually. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who loves the mix of good/bad in life so intensely that they cry about it. Not really happy or sad tears. Just love/existence/humanity tears.

Anyway, it’s obviously my favorite movie. And probably influenced me way too much when I was considering applying to nursing school in Alabama. I hope someone proposes to me someday by fake catching a catfish with an engagement ring (more proof that I’m Imaginationland crazy). Or actually catching a catfish with an engagement ring. That seems risky though. He could just pretend.

And take me to the river when I die. Preferably, I would like to die in the river surrounded by all the people I’ve ever known but that’s obviously way too whimsical to be real life and only happens at the end of Big Fish and not even really happens. It just happens in the story that Billy Crudup tells to Albert Finney while he dies in the hospital. Y’all can just cremate me and toss me in the river with some kind of short ceremonial celebration of life. Be drinking whiskey too, of course.

Wow, I think I just planned my funeral. These blogs get out of control. I go in with no organization or idea about what I’m going to write whatsoever and this is what comes out.

Relevant: If I Die Young by The Band Perry

I Just Want You Near Me Like You Are Now For Good

That’s a sweet sentiment. I love love love Tinfoil Hats.

It makes me hopeful about life. It makes me not want to settle. I can’t settle again. It’s better to be alone than settle for something that’s not everything you want.

Relatedly, my need to get out of this city and/or maybe all cities is overwhelming. I really think it has to do partially with the fact that I could go to the middle of Wyoming where no one lives and actually scream my face off for 10 minutes and no one would know. But also, more to do with the fact that after shutting down crucial parts of myself to be in a relationship with Matt, the repressed interests and thoughts and feelings are now coming out so uncontrollably fast and hard that I don’t know how to keep it in check.

We seriously argued about the stupidest stuff that really was just a reflection of us being totally different people with completely different interests and backgrounds.  In order to prevent the arguing, I had to ignore crucial parts of myself and not act certain ways and modify my interests. Because of this, I know exactly what I do and do not want in a guy. So I can really only be happy at this point. I feel like I dodged some kind of bullet. Like maybe I got out just in time before that point where I would get too far in. Like I was dangerously close to the event horizon of a black hole and almost never came out again.

And now I’m kind of living like someone who almost died. I know that sounds super dramatic but that’s how I feel sometimes. It was nearly the death of myself. And that’s maybe almost scarier than dying for real. When you die for real, you just cease to exist. When your true self dies, you have to live as someone else for the rest of your days and time drags on and you’re never really happy/fulfilled.

I’m 50% country and 50% city. It’s a dead even split. I grew up in the country so I need the wilderness down to the very core of my being. I kind of freak out in the city. I don’t know what to do with myself and get easily upset by certain things. Like smelling truck fumes when I’m running and not being able to see the stars when I want to. But then again, I know how much it sucks to live in a small town and what it’s like to want to experience new things and meet new people. So when I’m back in that small town for an extended period of time, I freak out then too. Essentially, I’m always only half content. 50% bliss, 50% freaking out. It’s really a miserable existence sometimes. Pittsburgh is actually ok. It’s city enough that you can spontaneously do almost anything and I could go to 7 shows a week if I wanted to but it’s also surrounded by three epic rivers and it was kind of built in the middle of the woods so it still kind of feels like that’s where you are. Western PA woods are the best kind also. Plus it’s neighborhoody so kinda has a small town feel sometimes. And after being here for 6 years, it’s really weird to realize how many people I know or know of. Desi and I went out on a date with the same guy and didn’t even realize it until after it happened. My bank teller realized that he lives in my old apartment. Shit like that. Everyone knows everyone.

Anyway, for the last billion weekends before this one, I left for some kind of country adventure whether it was visiting my extended family or driving to State College and back. And during those weeks I felt stable and balanced for the most part. So obviously the 50/50 thing is necessary. That’s why I think I’ll love Salt Lake City if I end up there. I feel like there are a million adventurers in Utah. Chill people who just like to hike and ski and kayak. Mary seems to think that’s where my soulmate is. More specifically, he’s probably at the Patagonia outlet (which, by the way, is absolutely amazing she says). Our eyes will meet in the ski pants aisle and that will be the start of happily forever.

Man wish list:
– At least 6’0″
– Outdoorsy in every way. Like would go camping and/or to the lake every weekend if he could.
– Kinda scruffy but in a well-maintained sense. Flannel shirts all the way. I’ve weirdly only been attracted to guys with facial hair lately.
– Absolutely honest/open about everything and truly believes that’s the only way to live. You can’t force someone to have this value or learn to be that way. They either can or they can’t. They do or they don’t. Don’t waste your time thinking they’ll change and/or come around and/or warm up to the idea.
– Brown eyes. They make me melt. Green and hazel are tolerable. Blue eyes are gross.
– Liberal political tendencies
– Humble, altruistic, loves people/the environment/the world/life
– Good at engineering and/or good at making/fixing stuff
–  Coaches little kids soccer
– Drives a Jeep. We need something to tow the boat with. Also, I’ve been Jeep brainwashed. My parents have always had one for as long as I can remember. And the best days of my life were spent on roadtrips in Tim’s Wrangler. Speaking of roadtrips…
– Must love roadtrips (and be good at them… stops infrequently, sings along with the Ryan Adams, knows how to pack a car, etc.) and also love good roadtrip music. Speaking of music…
– Must love alt-country and punk and everything from the 90s and just music in general. If you don’t go to a lot of shows, I can’t be with you. Because that’s all I want to do.
– Has siblings and is best friends with them. At least one of them has to be a sister. Guys without sisters are emotionally inept.
– Dog person. No cats. Ever.
– Likes good beer and whiskey. Also not a lightweight. I can drink a lot. You better be able to keep up.
– Wants to have 4 kids and is open to a few or all of them being adopted
– Has broad shoulders and tan man arms/hands/wrists
–  Can put up with the fact that I’m motivated and fiercely independent and hard to deal with sometimes especially at the beginning when I have walls. Once I trust you enough not to destroy my heart, I’m the most affectionate/low-maintenance girlfriend ever, I swear
– Can put up with the fact that I love to laugh and be unserious/ridiculous and also that I still have a huge imagination
– Knows that I have the potential to do amazing things for the world with my huge capacity to love and encourages/supports/pushes me the whole way to get things done. The greatest loves are those that make you an even more exceptional person than you ever thought you could be.
– Wants to have as many random experiences and see as many places as possible before we die together when we’re 95
– Knows that life is about way more than just making money and that it’s better to find a career that fits the life you want instead of making your life fit around your career
– Sees right through my shit and makes me accountable for it
– Does not have rich parents. I could write a book on why. But for now, just take my word for it.
– Remembers my birthday every year. I don’t even need a party or a present or a nice dinner or anything. You just have to say Happy Birthday and acknowledge that I’m one year older and happy about it. I don’t care about the whole anniversary thing or any other date that might be important. You just have to care that I’ve successfully lived another year and be happy that I’m around.
– Wants to settle down in Pittsburgh when we’re ready for that type of thing. My kids need to be close to my family and the farm. I want them to be able to have the experience of partially growing up there.
– Believes in lazy Sundays. Reading, cooking, chilling on the porch swing, watching football, napping in the hammock, etc.

I have yet to meet a guy that’s all those things. I don’t think I’ve met a guy that even comes close. Maybe I’m asking for too much. Like the soccer coaching is probably a stretch. And I could just buy a Jeep for myself. But… in general, that’s what I’m looking for. And Matt was so far off of that. And honestly, those things haven’t really changed from when I was 17 so I don’t know what I was doing. We had weirdly amazing chemistry that I got caught up in then it turned into love so even though we had seriously fundamental differences, it lasted a long time. And now I’ve learned a ridiculously critical lesson which I am grateful for and it’s only going to get better from here.

I can’t wait to find the guy that’s all those things or close to all those things. I want to listen to Tinfoil Hats and look this hypothetical person and know that we’re happy in every way on ever level.

Kid, I’m gonna be with you longer than the world can stand
‘Cause there’s a light that’s stronger
Shining out of your eyes
I see it

And even if I never find this ideal man I’m so so happy just being single that it’s totally ok. If I only ever have a dog and a boat, I’ll consider my life successful/happy/fulfilled. As I said, it’s better to be alone than settle for something that doesn’t make you happy in every way. The point of existence is to live happily and it’s very possible to be more unhappy than happy when you’re with the wrong person.

I’m exploding with life and love and hope. Yeah, there’s underlying anger there. But it actually is going away. I’m not a dweller. It’s time to put my brave face on and just expect that he’s going to continue to be a dick and make me upset and so I’m going to find a way to move past it and live my life and not let it bother me.

The miles and miles of hostility running definitely helps too.

I Truly, Honestly, Sincerely Love Life With Every Ounce Of Loving Capacity I Have

It’s weird and difficult sometimes but the beautiful moments/days make the unpleasant stuff so insignificant.

I saw Matt last night for the first time in 2 months. And I realized I feel absolutely nothing toward him. I knew I didn’t love him anymore but I thought I might show up and feel hate because that’s what I’ve been feeling since we broke up and he started being super immature about the aftermath. But honestly, I got there and had no ill feelings. I’m not sure if he was upset that I was there but it seemed pretty normal. Awkward but normal. I think things are going to be ok.

I still can’t go to sports when he’s there and I totally respect that the mutual friends don’t think it’s a good idea. But thankfully, tonight he can’t make it so I get to go and everything is feeling close to normal again.

Ed was randomly back in town so I saw him last night at Bootleggers. Whenever someone comes home and/or when almost everyone is there, it feels nearly exactly like how life used to be. Before Matt and I broke up and even before everyone moved away. 2008-2010 will forever be some of the best years of my life. I’m not sad that time changed things because I’m definitely looking forward to all the upcoming years of my life but it is kind of upsetting when I think about how much I loved that phase. Life was really nearly perfect back then.

I also love love love having random days off in the middle of the week. I get so much done. Today was a gorgeous day. October might be my second favorite month behind July. No, actually nothing can beat summer so June and August take 2 and 3. But October is definitely 4th.

And even though I anxiously/compulsively check the mail every day hoping to see a letter from Alabama, I think I’m becoming more and more ok with moving to Utah. With such an awesome plan B, it almost doesn’t matter anymore. I mean, I’m probably going to cry my face off if I don’t get in and may feel less happy about plan B if that reality happens. But for now, I’m just kind of in one of those “whatever happens, happens” states. Especially when Mary sends me e-mails that end like this:

…and we can dance around the apartment relishing in our freedom from the East and all the glory that belongs to the West.

She missed her calling as a poet/novelist. You can blame Wendell Berry. She never used to be like this. Apparently A Timbered Choir: Sabbath Poems is the greatest thing ever. She quoted the intro in one of her recent e-mails as well.

These poems were written in silence, in solitude, mainly out of doors. A reader will like them best, I think, who reads them in similar circumstances–or at least in a quiet room. They would be most favorably heard if read aloud into a kind of quietness that is not afforded by any public place. I hope that some readers will read them as they were written: slowly, and with more patience than effort.

Holy FUCK, that’s incredible. Definitely next on the list. The number of books on my “to read” agenda is an exponential curve. It can never be conquered. I have yet to come to terms with the fact that there just aren’t enough life hours to read everything I want. The thought makes me too sad. Even if I only read, slept, and ate, there still wouldn’t be enough time. Curses, time!

Another thing that’s incredible: Ashes & Fire. I used to be kind of sad that Ryan Adams doesn’t make music like he used to. It’s more mature now and I like wild things because I’m wild. But honestly, Ashes & Fire won me over in every day. I cannot stop listening to it.

However, today’s album was White Blood Cells. Before I left the house, I found this random plain white CD in my trunk of stray things and I thought it was Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and I immediately decided it was perfect for today so I got excited and popped it in as soon as I got out of the car. Then I was pleasantly surprised to hear The White Stripes. Best surprise ever. Granted, both albums would have been great to listen to today but it had been so long since I listened to a White Stripes album in it’s entirety that I’m actually really really happy this turned out the way it did. I’d forgotten how goddamn incredible it is. And this is weird because I was totally listening to Hotel Yorba on repeat a few days ago. Proof: this post.

The alt-country blog is a lot more difficult than I thought. It’s hard to have a blog that’s so specific and focused. Good learning experience though. I’m hoping to finish up another post today or tomorrow at the latest. I’m just concerned that nothing I write will be good enough or anything that I’m actually proud of. Like this blog doesn’t matter because it’s just haphazard blithering. But I want that one to be a legitimate project. We’ll see what happens. I think I just need to sit down and write and not care and be happy with the results. Being a perfectionist sucks every day. I’m crazy successful at life because of it. But it sucks. Double-edged sword.

It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope that’s true. Because alt-country is definitely my #1 thing right now. Ralph Waldo Emerson will never steer you wrong, I swear. Everyone is always like “Thoreau is so much better.” Disagree. I mean, honestly, they’re both great so I don’t know why you have to take a side. It’s like the pop/soda thing or the ranch/bleu cheese thing or the Sheetz/Wawa thing or any of that. Why make it an issue when they’re all wonderful and you can say/eat/like both? For the record, I’m a soda/bleu cheese/Sheetz person haha.

Also relevant:

Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.
– Ray Bradbury

These things motivate me to keep truckin’ on.

Anyway, to finish up here, I’m getting back into running. I need it. It gets a lot of aggression and pent up energy/negativity out of me. I bought the MOST AMAZING running shoes today because my old ones were shot. Nike Air Pegasus +28. Mine are prettier than that though. Anyway, I consulted Marco after I purchased them because he’s an expert. Running is his passion and he also works at a running store and happens to also be an expert in helping people find the shoes/gear that’s most suited to them. This was his opinion of them:

As you may have inferred by the 28, that shoe has been around for a long time (28 years). So pretty reliable/popular. Definitely in the top 3 shoes we sell at Fleet Feet. Just hope you aren’t an overpronator!

I love my friends. I love people with passions/obsessions. It means they have something to live for and love. That’s critically important.

Mary is living her passion too.

I’m sooooo drawn into community and natural resources/environment sociology. It makes my heart beat in a way different than any other sociology I’ve ever studied. I think I’m finding my calling in life.

Everyone go be like her. And Marco. And everyone else who’s living out their passions.

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
– Ferdinand Foch

Go hard or go home. I’m floating amidst several intense passions so that makes things slightly more complicated. I want to do everything all at once.

But back to the shoes. They seriously make you feel like you’re flying. Hence the whole “Air Pegasus” thing, I guess. I can’t believe I’ve gone 24 years without discovering them. It’s the dawning of a new era in my relationship with running. So long, animosity in my soul! Miles of running totally knock it out of me. That feeling where you think you absolutely can’t keep going but do anyway is the point where you’re most free. That applies to all difficult things, not just running.

And so, this is to you baby sister… Please keep in mind that while grad school sucks, you’re actually weirdly living at the height of experience right now. Appreciate that. Because from that difficulty will come the greatest success you’ve ever experienced. It will be the type of triumph that will define and give incredible meaning to your life.

Pipe Dreams

Well, it’s up. Kind of.

My QLC manifests itself in weirder and weirder ways as time goes on.

Shakedown on 9th Street

That title is so temporary. With something is as critical as the name, you can’t rush it. Someday, it’ll just hit me. Until then, I had to call it something.

We’ll see what happens this my new baby beta project. Someone collaborate with me. I would love for this to be a partnership. Or even a group endeavor.

The Purity Of The Road

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!
– Albert Einstein

Or in this case, the beautiful land of central Pennsylvania.

Penn State football is always a family affair. It’s nice to know that reliably, no matter what game you go to, there will be an assortment of relatives there.

The most perfect thing you can experience is life when you’re sitting in a fold-up chair outside Beaver Stadium on a gorgeous sunny warm October day with a Yuengling in one hand and a slice of your mom’s famous tailgating sandwich in the other, surrounded by your immediate family along with cousins, aunts, and uncles.

I cannot emphasize this enough: a simple life is the best life.

Money and power are so overrated. All I want for the rest of my existence is to be able to drive over Pennsylvania mountains and end up at Beaver Stadium to watch Penn State win a football game.

If we were Catholic and if JoePa was mortal, he would probably be adopted as our family’s new patron saint once he died.

Usually I only get to go to one game per year. Two if I’m outrageously lucky. This year, however, I got to go to three. And now I’m hooked. As with all addictions, the more you do it, the more you need it.

As I’ve probably said before, the drive from Pittsburgh to State College is both spectacular and soothing. I get all happy and dreamy.

If this was Imaginationland where everything was possible, I’d have financial backers who would pay me to travel across the USA and write a New York Times bestseller called “The Definitive Guide to Alt-Country and the Road.” I would go to amazing shows, interact with the very essence of America, and also impart my roadtrip wisdom to eager young wanderers.

For example, how to make a 2.5 hour trip when you’re so hungover you want to die.
1) Portable carby/greasy breakfast in little bites over a long period of time
2) Ginger ale
3) Windows down for fresh air
4) Big sunglasses to block the light
5) Coffee for stamina (because passing out does not have the same restorative benefits as sleep) when you’re finally starting to feel recovered
6) Subtle but good music like Ghost

I always say I’m not going to go out the night before a game because it’s critically important that I’m in tip-top shape to get the most enjoyment out of it. That never happens. Saturday morning was rough. But I left at 10 and was back to 100% by 1 when I finally got to the tailgate spot. The walk down College Ave was magically medicinal. Nothing better than being surrounded by a zillion people who love the same thing you do. And the first Yuengling I had upon arrival was magic. Sweet, delicious Yuengling.

Anyway, because I’ve been outrageously productive lately (being single actually is awesome), I think I’m going to start an alt-country blog. Being that I just now realized that basically half of everything (musically speaking) I love falls into the alt-country genre, it’s going to be a little rocky at first. More of a beta project. Very exploratory. I mean, I’ve loved these bands/artists forever, but I’m a novice in terms of how far-reaching the genre really is and what it has to offer. I don’t even know how it started or why it started or who was the first person to coin the term.

Maybe someday I can actually be enough of an expert to write the definitive guide. Gotta win the lotto first. The gas money has to come from somewhere.

Mary went to Park City this weekend. I want to go to Park City someday too.

Steelers won. Thank God.